Less than three months after being sacked by Real Madrid, Rafa Benitez looks to be on the verge of being installed as manager of Premier League side Newcastle United. Benitez was fired after just half a season at Real Madrid, despite still being alive in the Champions League and only a few points adrift of leaders Barcelona at the time.
Benitez will reportedly sign a three-year deal with the struggling Premier League outfit. Newcastle is currently in the throes of a relegation struggle and sit second from the bottom in the Premier League table on 24 points, with just nine games left to play.
The Spanish manager, who enjoyed a successful spell at Liverpool, will be the man charged with trying to keep the Magpies from the drop. Barring that, he will become the man tasked with trying to bring them back up from the Championship should they fail to survive in the Premier League this season.
Relegation struggles are something of a departure for Benitez, a manager who, among other things, has won the Champions League with Liverpool, the La Liga title with Valencia, and the Europa League with Chelsea. However, he has been brought in as a stabilizing force in the past, most notably at Chelsea, where he was appointed as caretaker manager following the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo.
Meanwhile, over at Real Madrid, results seem to have improved under Benitez’s successor, Zinedine Zidane, but the club still looks to be out of the Spanish title race altogether this season. Real is currently in third with Barcelona sitting 12 points above them and eight points above second place Atleti.
They are, however, through to the last eight of the Champions League following a convincing aggregate win against Roma over two legs. Real Madrid will resume their La Liga campaign this weekend with a trip to the Canary Islands to face Las Palmas.